Ski Day

“I cried about Christmas a while ago…”

So begins the diary entry for Dec. 22, 1977, written in cramped, tiny handwriting with a blue-black fountain pen.

It was two days before the school holiday break, and I spent that Thursday afternoon alone. Steve had called to see if I wanted to go to Ridgedale, and there was a choir concert at the high school that night, but I didn’t feel up to doing anything.

Where the rest of The Family Project was that day, the diary doesn’t report. I dozed in my bedroom for a while, then awoke, thinking about Christmas 1976 and Kim.

“A Christmas carol (a grand old song!),” the diary says, “was on the radio. I broke down, briefly.”

It’s through entries like these that I get a window into my early brushes with depression. Could I have been experiencing an episode and didn’t know what I was dealing with? Or could it have been just your standard teenage melancholy?

Surely Mom had yet to exhibit signs of her illness, or she might’ve had moments similar to mine that I knew nothing about. Since I began writing the diaries in 1972, this is the only direct revelation of my teenage emotional state I’ve yet been able to find. It’s raw, unfiltered, immediate—and I’m happy to discover it now.

But the next day, Friday, I had bells on my feet. Literally.

My tennis shoes tinkled through the Music Resource Center as classmates tossed aside their books for holiday hijinks. Steve and Harvey somehow got access to Kim’s locker so that when she opened it, popcorn spilled everywhere. Red and green were colors of the day; kids handed out Christmas cards; the Smoke Signal came back from the printers and everyone stopped to congratulate me on my column; and the “Pop Singers” group put on a show for the entire school at seventh period in the gym.

It was the time of the season.

I worked at Super Sam’s that night. Stephanie was there, picking up her paycheck. We sat in a booth and chatted for a while.

“I really like Stephanie a lot,” I later wrote. Because it was a slow night, we all got off shift early, at a quarter to midnight.

It was a quiet Christmas. Kim and her sisters were at their father’s, so I didn’t see her at church for Sunday service. The Family Project stuck to schedule: 7 a.m. Christmas morning, presents, stocking stuffers, Dad taking pictures—I received notebooks and pens, a thesaurus from Mom (photo at left, circa winter 1977), and a backgammon game.

Later, Skeeze, Pete and I caught Gene Wilder’s latest flick, The World’s Greatest Lover. The shocker came the following morning when Harvey stopped over to show off his combo Christmas present/early birthday gift—a green ’68 Ford Mustang.

He drove us to Ridgedale where I exchanged a ski mobile for an angel fish one. It’s ironic because the next day Harvey stopped over again so we could put a ski rack on his new ride for Wednesday’s ski trip to Afton Alps. Along with Chad, Steve, Loren and his girlfriend Sherri, we all packed into the ’stang for a day on the slopes (Dad snapped the above picture while I was skiing at Afton Alps on Jan. 24, 1977).

We boys were restless, the diary reveals. “Chad, Steve and I [skied] around a lot…looking for girls, you know.” I even admit to an unlawful act: “At one time, Chad, Scott, Steve and I went back to the car, got high, and hit the slopes once more.” I knew what I was doing—it all goes back to the risk and excitement first experienced in 1975 while on a sleepover.

Apparently I wasn’t that focused on a possible first date with Stephanie … or was just trying to forget the ghosts of Christmas past.

~ by completelyinthedark on September 7, 2012.

2 Responses to “Ski Day”

  1. That was a ‘cozy’ ride – 6 people, in ski clothes, with boots, poles, & skis, all packed in the Mustang. Good thing Sherri sat on Loren’s lap or it never would have worked…

    Liked by 1 person

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